Friday, July 27, 2007

Pain + Martinelli's = Happiness - 痛み + マーティネリ = 幸せ。

Weather: Another lovely sunny day in Seattle! 69°F
Energy Level: 3 out of 10 (hmm.)
Mood: Pretty good, actually
Health: Still a little dizzy, and... read on.

↑ Now (memory in the making)

I'm a lucky, lucky girl with a very nice husband. Currently this girl is learning to pace herself.

I woke up feeling like someone beat me up with a stick during the night (I don't think Daniel did that - I didn't find a stick anywhere) and I'd completed a triathlon without properly training for it. (Normally I wake up feeling like I'd completed a marathon without completely training for it, which I have done in real life. I've never completed a triathlon, but you get the gist -I'm assuming it hurts more than a marathon.)

With a very painful throat, I looked in there to see if I'd gotten a strep or something. While I didn't see white spots in the back of the throat, there were little red spots like bug bites everywhere. Eek.

This may be due to the fact I sat out in the open to count traffic for Cascade Bicycle Club yesterday for a couple of hours. They are advocating for the original Seattle Bicycle Master Plan, some of which could crumble under some pressure from a minority of local businesses in Fremont, by providing the city with a more current and accurate traffic count/traffic makeup (what % is industrial trucks, passenger cars, bicycles, pedestrians, etc.). So they needed volunteers to count the rush hour traffic.

(If you live in Seattle area and want a safer city for alternative transportation options, contact the Mayor here!)

I'd been dying for a chance to volunteer to contribute to the community in some way, because while I've been sick, I felt like I was not contributing to the society.

The condition probably could not have been much better. It was a pleasant sunny weather in the 70s yesterday, but in the last 30 minutes of the rush hour, the street corner I was sitting on turned into a complete shade and I got chilled.

I've been trying to get over a chronic Epstein-Barr virus (mono virus) infection for the last 5-6 months or so - maybe I wasn't ready to be out in the open that long. Crap.

I stumbled back home, totally cold and dizzy from following numerous cars on the road with my eyes. (I didn't think it would be all that bad, sitting there and counting traffic, but holding up the clipboard and counting hundreds of cars zipping through the intersection were not easy for the current version of me.) Now, although it's 75 degrees in our place, I'm in the long warm alpaca wool sweater Daniel got me from Peru, complete with L.L. Bean slipper socks. Oh well.

So this morning I called a nurse, who recommended a wait-and-see approach for now, with warm salt water gargling and soft diet (chicken broth, warm apple juice, etc.) for the day. Upon hearing this Daniel jumped to the occasion, ran (or walked) to the nearby store and brought me back organic chicken stock and Martinelli's cider - all before going to work!

(Now as I write this, I'm finding myself a little annoying... sorry Daniel.)

↑ Then (sweet memories)

Martinelli's juice holds a special place in my heart, because my mom used to buy the little 10 oz. round bottle (which was completely overpriced and totally expensive, being an import, and dollar used to be much more expensive against yen) when we were younger, and my brother and I used to share one. It was sweet like no apple juice in Japan (they tend to make Japanese apple juices with more tang - different species of apple - which I now like). It was like drinking honey, and when we had one it was a big treat. (I now dilute it with water, because it's almost too sweet as is!)

Bonus: Martinelli's web site's FAQ section states that "all of the products that Martinelli's manufactures are gluten-free." Yeah!

Wow, now I have a giant bottle of Martinelli's. I have such a nice husband. :-)))


Some allege backpedaling with changes to bike plan (Seattle Times article - clever wording, no?)
Changing Lanes: Business Leader Kills Stone Way Bike Lane (Stranger article)


天候: またもや晴れ! 21°C
元気度: 3/10
気分: けっこう気分はいいです。
体調: まだちょっとめまい中~。





虫刺されみたいに赤い点々が奥にいっぱい。 いや~ん。

知れません。 シアトルでは自転車、歩行者がもっと安全に移動しやすく




油断しました。 外に2時間座るのはまだ時期尚早だったかも。

着こんでこれを書いています。 反省。


(私って迷惑なやつ、とちょっと自己嫌悪。 ダニエルごめんね。)

(無論こっちではもっと安い。 今は甘すぎて水で薄めています。


優しいだんな様がいてくれて良かった。 (^_^)


Some allege backpedaling with changes to bike plan (シアトルタイムス)
Changing Lanes: Business Leader Kills Stone Way Bike Lane (ストレンジャー)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Random thoughts (aka rants) about being green and caring about others

When I grow up, I wanna work at Alfalfa's
Where the cheese is dairy free
A Birkenstocks, Spandex, necktie, patchouli grocery store
I'll have a job, picking through the produce - no pesticides for me!
I'll be a working moderate income socially conscious Boulder Hippie.

~Left Over Salmon
(Best lyrics ever)

Weather: Supper Sunny! 71°F
Energy Level: 4 out of 10 (improving!)
Mood: Loving the beautiful day in Seattle
Health: Still dizzy, & the stomach is not cooperating for some reason

↑ Silly Molly - we bought some
new high-protein, low-carb food
to see if she'd lose weight that way,
but she doesn't seem to like it. :-(
She's currently trying to talk to birds
(she actually mimics birds chirp)!

(Now that we've both finished the latest Harry Potter, we can begin to write.)

Traveling without a car... (I know, madness)

Being weak and dizzy from FMS/CFS and celiac disease forces me to walk/bus/bike more instead of driving.

At first I thought this was frustrating, but I'm beginning to think this was a really good thing.

I've always been concerned about the environment in - to borrow words from Left Over Salmon - a "working moderate income socially conscious Boulder Hippie" (yuppie poser) kind of way. Even then, I've never given up driving as much as I have lately (although I've tried to offset our carbon emission footprints through Carbon Fund).

The good thing about not driving is that you become more aware of your surroundings.

As I look around, most cars I see hold just ONE person, in a vehicle that holds 5 to 7 people. To get to work? Running errands? Picking up kids from school? I have no idea. I really have no grudge against the people who have to haul heavy things or go from a place to place in the most efficient fashion for work during the day. I just wonder about those people, with only one person in the car and no significant load of stuff, who just seem to be driving for convenience. So they can start their trip from their doorstep and save 15 minutes getting there or going home? So they can start watching TV 15 minutes sooner?

I understand, in a rural area, cars are necessary. But in a city area such as Seattle with a pretty good public transportation system, you can run most errands on public transportation (or a bike).

Of course I'm not innocent. Until I got sick, I had the luxury of thinking about these things less. But as I stand at a bus stop, I can't help to notice that cars are giant metal boxes which shield you from the surrounding environment and cut you off from your senses; I say this because I doubt people in cars are thinking of what a stinky cloud of air they are leaving behind. (I wasn't, when I was driving.) As long as they are inside the metal box they can't smell what's outside - what they are doing to the air they, too, breathe.

These big metal boxes are not unlike carrying your house around to go everywhere. It keeps your personal space, which shuts you in from the rest of the world. They keep you from walking/biking (to bus stops or to run errands, etc.), and yet people in the U.S. spend billions and billions of dollars each year on gym memberships, exercise equipment, and diet solutions, because they need more exercise - not to mention health care costs related to obesity and heart ailments.

We often hear people say their schedules are just too busy to take the little extra time to take public transportation. Yet they make time to drive to the gym to exercise, or to walk on a treadmill at home (which uses even more energy). Hmm. What's wrong with the picture here? Is this lifestyle really buying us convenience? (I'm not even getting started on U.S. oil consumption - if you're curious how bad it is, click on this link.)

I've actually been enjoying walking to/from various bus stops, waiting at bus stops, and biking - it's bringing me back to the time in my childhood when I commuted to my elementary school, about 1.5 hours each way, connecting a subway, a train, and a bus. I would meander, pick up a bouquet of weeds (I call them native plants), touch things, and entertain myself in the process (no doubt frustrating my mom to no end, because I always took longer than 1.5 hours due to my exploring the world). People in the city looked at me funny when I started singing, but I didn't care. That time spent commuting actually gave me sanity, instead of driving me up the wall (which often happens when driving).

My strongest senses are tactile, visual and olfactory, so I really enjoy picking leaves here and there and smelling them, observing flowers and fruits on trees, and brushing against lavender bushes and smelling my hand afterward.

Granted, Seattle is one of more environmentally conscious cities, while it still has ways to go. It just made the decision to make use of the methane gas from garbage as energy; we have a large bus fleet that includes electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel-driven vehicles. So I'm lucky to be able to take buses or walk/bike to most places.

I'm starting notice that, in fact, when I was driving I was getting from a place to place too quickly. I failed to notice things.

Things I notice on my travels...

For example, today, I noticed for the first time that there was a food bank next to the bus stop we've used a few times. We'd driven by it numerous times and never noticed it. (See what I mean about being cut off from the surrounding world?)

There was a line of people - with backpacks or metal carts - and the majority of them were seniors and young women. The sight made me ask myself: What are we doing wrong, as a society, that these older people and younger people can't afford to buy food?

It reminded me of the time I was talking to the Executive Director of Phoenix House in Denver, which was a supportive/transitional housing program for the homeless with history of substance abuse. (Side information: this type of ongoing supportive housing program is far more effective at creating long-term solutions than, say, emergency shelters - while important - or outpatient detox programs, which may appear to cost less at first, but much more costly to the society in a long run.)

This fellow travels to Europe and Latin America frequently, and his comment was that people might have less, but people in many other countries don't allow their family members to be homeless even if they screw up. Translation = even if you screw up (or lose your job or become sick or have a mental breakdown) once or twice, they'll let you live in their back yard shack, living room, or let you share a room with a kid.

I'm not about to advocate for not taking personal responsibility with your life, but I can't help noticing that our culture (and system) doesn't always encourage helping out each other before a catastrophe (i.e. inability to afford food and/or shelter, not having health care that your illness goes out of control, etc.).

In this country there is such a strong sense of entitlement and pride in independence. We are all somehow entitled to a car and a big house filled with furnishings, with each person having a room, and it's somehow unfortunate if we don't have those things. Since each person is supposed to make those things happen on his or her own, we often kick our kids out of the house as soon as they are ready to go to college (or kids can't wait to leave and they leave to get their own pad, because the expectations are such). Do they have enough tools and resources to cope with everything that's out there? Who knows. If you screw up, it's your fault, and you are out there with no health care, food, or worse: home.

And what we see all around, resulting from that sense of entitlement and independence (i.e. having to have your own place no matter what), is our spending culture with little social support - with the least amount of personal savings and highest rate of personal bankruptcy compared to other industrialized nations. Most of us would say we can't afford to support another family member, if push came to shove (although it may not take that much - if you let go of preconceived notions of each person needing a room and having to live independently), because of mortgage, car payment, etc. I heard somewhere that many families in America are two paychecks away from bankruptcy, if a catastrophe were to strike (major health problem, accident, natural disaster, etc.). Many others live from a paycheck to paycheck.

So the public keeps pushing the government for less taxation for supposedly larger take-home income, and the government keeps cutting social services in return - are we any more secure because of the tax cuts? Did we save more? Probably not for the majority of people. We probably just spent more. (This includes me. I don't deserve to be all high and mighty; this is as much a criticism for myself as anyone.) And there is little safety net if something were to go wrong.

I'm not going to go into the recent infuriating supreme court decision (Ledbetter v. Goodyear - sign the petition! You can still make a difference) and the fact that in this day and age, women still earn only 80% of what men earn right out of college. It just made me really sad and angry to see young women and seniors lining up for free food, in this country of supposed abundance, in a city with one of the highest college graduation rates and median income.

Someone wise (whose name I can't recall, sorry) said, the character of a civilization is measured by how it treats its weakest citizens. I tend to agree, and I get the feeling we are failing to show character.

Can you tell I'm a bleeding heart liberal? I can't wait to be healthy enough to be more socially/politically active! :-)


P.S. For those of you who wondered - the raspberry/boysenberry popsicles, as well as pineapple/coconut pops (made me wanna add rum to it), were delicious!

P.P.S. Momo's lab results were okay. Ender was negative for ringworm... and she has improved. Could've been fleas/mites (which we didn't see, but gave her medicine for anyway) or something else. It's up to Pete now.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The joy of being sick = beauty of raspberries! - 病気によって見つける喜び=ラズベリーって綺麗!

Weather: Rain; 62°F
Energy Level: 3 out of 10
Mood: Pretty good but dizzy still...

I never realized raspberries were so beautiful.

(Forgive me I'm not a good photographer like my sister Nire... My picture doesn't really do justice to these raspberries!)

I've been thinking that there are certain upsides and downsides to being sick and in pain all the time.

For example:
Downside: We had to postpone our honeymoon trip to Japan/Japanese wedding.
Upside: Both of my parents are coming to visit us in Seattle next month! Yippie!

Downside: Since my feet hurt, I can't wear cute shoes with heels, which also disguise my short legs.
Upside(?): (Daniel may dispute this.) It's an excuse to buy cute flats to replace them.

Downside: Often too dizzy or too painful to drive for more than 15 minutes. (= Can't make it to Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.)
Upside: When I walk or bike, I notice things like dragonflies and birds catching bugs, and I get to rescue snails in the middle of a road.

Downside: Can't eat out as much due to the fear of poisoning myself with gluten/allergens.
Upside: We get to learn how to cook together and eat at home.

A lot of things I come across nowadays are quite surprising and delightful. Today's discovery started out like this:

(Last night)
Me: "I want one of those things that lets us make our own popsicles, because it's tricky to eat store-bought kinds."
Daniel: "Okay."
Me: "Wonder if they have it at Cook's World." (The kitchenware shop across the street where we are taking cooking classes - they give us a discount when you're their student.)
Daniel: "We can go look. It'll probably taste better anyway - we had one of those growing up."

Then we went and found one. An old-fashioned "Frozen Ice Pop Maker."

I was too tired to get started last night, so I started making our frozen pops today. I was at first going to make simple ones, some with pineapple/coconut juice and some with boysenberry nectar. Then I remembered the organic raspberries in the frig.

I washed them and started gently pulling them apart by hand to make them into smaller bits (so I can put them in the boysenberry pops) - I always knew they were beautiful fruits, but I never realized how beautiful each tiny berry bits were! (Do you call them seeds? Berries? Kernels??)

Evocative of pomegranate (looks a bit like corn too), each bit was slightly translucent, with glowing yellow-ish color inside. Amazing. The beauty was literally breathtaking.

If I hadn't found out about my celiac disease, I probably would've never stopped to look at each small bit inside raspberries.

This, and the rain, are keeping me happy today. Not to mention waiting for our own frozen pops.


↑ Can you see the raspberry bits?

Put the top on...

I can't wait. Yummmm

天候: 雨; 17°C
元気度: 3/10
気分: まあまあだけど まだ めまいでクラクラ~。

↑ One more thing
that always makes me happy:
Momo in a box.


(写真を撮るのが下手で ラズベリーに申し訳ない。。。)


悪いこと : ハネムーン・日本での結婚式を延期せざるを得なかった。
いいこと : 来月、両親がそろってシアトルに会いに来てくれる!

悪いこと : 足が痛くて、(足が短いのをごまかすのにも役立つ)
いいこと(?) : (ダニエルは異を唱えるかも。) 代わりに、かわいい

悪いこと   めまいがして痛いので車の運転が出来ず出かけられない。
いいこと : 歩いたり自転車に乗って出かけると、トンボが飛んでるのや、

悪いこと   グルテンが入っているかも知れないのが怖くて
いいこと : 二人一緒にお料理を習って家で一緒に食べられる。

言えるかも知れません。 今日の発見はこんなきっかけで始まりました。

あ: 「売ってるアイスキャンデーって買うの怖いから、昔良くあったような、
ダ: 「うん、いいんじゃない。」
あ: 「クックスワールドで売ってると思う?」
(お向かいの調理器具屋さん。 そこでお料理教室に通ってるので
ダ: 「見に行こう、多分その方がおいしいよ。 小さい頃うちでも




すごーい。 美しさに一瞬息を呑むとはこういう感じでしょうか。




Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The best spinach salad, EVER - すごーく美味しいほうれん草のサラダ。

Weather: Cloudy; 69°F
Energy Level: 3 out of 10
Mood: Pretty good - mellow.

↑ Our Hug salt and pepper shakers.

Update: I'm a wee bit less dizzy now. This cloudy weather helps. :-) Apparently it may have to do with the balance between my low level of cortisol and the thyroid medication. My doctor is on the case (waiting for lab results).

Imagine this:

It's about lunch time, and you are sitting around the tables at a cooking class. You're slightly hungry. You've just heard how great olive oils are made in Italy, how vinegars are made, and about different types of greens and how to handle them. You've passed around a bit of exquisite balsamic vinegar ($40+ bottle) and tasted some; you've also passed around some fresh herbs from the teacher's garden as well as a great Dijon mustard from France ($31 jar) to smell them.

Then the teacher, whipping out a gorgeous Portabella mushroom probably from the local farmers market, chops it really quickly and starts sautéing the mushroom pieces on a pan. The buttery smell of mushroom fills the room. About the same time, she opens a package of thick bacon slices, chops them up, and starts sautéing those in another pan. The thick bacon smell now wafts through the room, complete with the sizzling sound. She assembles the beautiful salad - baby spinach, green onion, bacon, mushrooms, along with the balsamic dressing she made with fresh marjoram and the Dijon mustard. We've passed around bowls and folks, and are practically licking our lips.

That's when she GRATED a hard-boiled egg into the mix, using a Microplane.
(Which, I must admit, is a neat trick, if you're not allergic to eggs.)

I was aware the recipe contained an egg - something which causes a massive IgG antibody reaction to attack my own body, according to a recent blood test (I didn't know, since I never broke out in hives or anything). But the other two salads we were making were Caesar salad (with egg & Parmesan cheese - a.k.a. dairy, which I'm apparently even more allergic to than eggs) and Greek salad (feta cheese), so I'd thought to myself, "Maybe she'll slice the hard-boiled egg, and perhaps I can just take off the pieces of egg from spinach leaves?"

No such luck - now the egg was in a fine powder form, tossed into the beautiful salad. I did vow to scrape the egg off spinach leaves as much as possible, but the temptation was too great not to eat it. (I'd told the teacher about my allergies, but she said since it was a big class she was unable to make a separate batch.)

For what it's worth, it was maybe the best tasting salad I've ever had. Okay, maybe the hunger and sitting there while the bacon cooked helped. I think the great ingredients also played a part, too.

After attending the class which taught us all the basics of creating your own dressing/marinade from various oils, vinegars/acid (e.g. citrus juice) and flavorings (e.g. herbs, garlic, etc.), Daniel and I were inspired. So we re-created the spinach salad, sans the egg. I think it was much better with the egg, but since the last one gave my stomach one-to-two-days worth of trouble (hey, it was better than when I ate gluten), it wasn't worth it for us. Ç’est la vie.

Still, it's a very good salad! Makes me eat a ton of spinach like Popeye!

Here's the recipe (this makes a LOT of salad - good for a potluck - you could probably half it or just decrease the amount of spinach, if you are just a couple of people like us):

Fresh Spinach Salad

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs tender spinach leaves (I personally think this is way too much - 15-20 oz of baby spinach should suffice)
  • 6 lg. shiitake mushrooms or any fresh mushrooms (we used one Portabella and a couple of shiitakes. Portabella goes really well with this.)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, chopped (could be something else with smoky flavor, like salmon - if you're vegetarian, you could use veggie bacon, etc.)
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled (omit if you are giving it to Aya)
  1. Hard-boil egg and set in cold water to cool then peel.
  2. Wash the spinach in a large bowl of cold water (even if it says triple washed or whatever!), stem the leaves (if necessary) and spin dry.
  3. Slice the mushrooms thickly (or cube, if you've got a huge Portabella) and briefly sautée in unsalted butter or a neutral-flavored (such as canola) oil.
  4. Sautee the bacon in a skillet (until crisp or not, your preference - apparently it's only Americans who sautée bacon till crisp; we preferred it with a bit of texture left), drain oil in the skillet or put on paper towel to drain.
Balsamic vinaigrette ingredients:
  • 1/3 C. Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 C. olive oil (pure, as opposed to extra virgin - extra virgin would be too heady and would fight too much with other flavors; while you pour the oil in dressing, you may want to decrease this amount depending on your preference)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp. fresh marjoram, minced
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, coarse style
  1. Put the acid (vinegar) in a bowl and whisk in garlic, marjoram and mustard.
  2. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
  3. Toss with spinach, mushrooms, chopped green onions, bacon, crumbled egg and serve.
Yum! It sounds like a simple salad, but the balance between the sweetness of spinach/marjoram/mushroom/egg and the sharpness of green onion/garlic/Balsamic vinegar/mustard is just right.

Maybe I will eat before the cooking class next time.

天候: 曇り; 19°C
元気度: 3/10
気分: ぼーっとしてほにゃほにゃ、まあまあ。

少しめまいが軽くなりました。 引き続きどんより曇りで良かった
知れないとのことです。 難しいのですね。 


お腹はちょっとすきっ腹。 イタリアでどうやって美味しいオリーブ油が

炒めだす先生。 部屋に甘いマッシュルームの香りが広がります。
次はベーコン。 分厚いベーコンを切り、それも先生は同時に
炒めます。 ジュージューと焼く音と一緒に、ぷ~んとベーコンの



IgG 抗体を大量に出して
ことが判明。 蕁麻疹とか出なかったので知りませんでした。)

甘かった。 卵が粉状に近くなってしまった今、かなりまんべんなく
美味しそうなサラダに入ってしまいました。 出来るだけ卵を除けよう、とは
別々のものを作るのは無理とのことでした。 そうですよね。)

・・・すごく美味しかった。 材料が良かった・新鮮だったせいもあると

学んだサラダのクラス。 刺激になって、ダニエルと私も卵を抜いて


ほうれん草サラダ 4~6人分レシピ 

  • 若いほうれん草の葉 1.5 - 2 lbs (650~900g)
    (多分これだと沢山過ぎると思う。 400~500g位でいいのでは?)
  • 大き目のしいたけ5~6個か代わりのキノコ
    (ポルタベラとか。 それだと6個も要りませんね。1~2個?)
  • 青ねぎ(細いやつ)1束、細切れにしておく
  • ベーコン 0.5 lb または200gくらい
  • 固ゆで卵1個 (このブログの管理者に出す場合は除く)
  1. 卵は固ゆでし、水で冷やして皮をむいておく。
  2. ほうれん草を大きなボウルかシンクの中で洗い、硬い茎は取り除き、
    水を良く切る。 (サラダスピナーでやればなお良い)
  3. キノコを厚めのぶつ切りにして、バターか、味が他の材料と喧嘩しない
  4. ベーコンを1~1.5cmくらいずつに切って炒め、油を切る。
  • バルサミコ酢 1/3カップ
  • オリーブ油 1カップ(エクストラ・バージンとか特上のものだと香りが
    最後に入れるとき、好みで加減します。 これより少ない方が、私達は
  • つぶしたニンニク 一片
  • マジョラム 小さじ2 (できれば生、細かく切る)
  • ディジョン・マスタード(粗挽き・粒) 小さじ2
  1. ボウルに酸(この場合酢)を入れ、香りつけのもの(ニンニク、
  2. 油をゆっくり少しずつ、泡だて器で混ぜながら注ぐ。
  3. 大きなボウルにほうれん草、キノコ、切った青ねぎ、ベーコン、
いただきまあす。 シンプルなサラダのようですが、



Monday, July 16, 2007

Deer in the headlights - 真夏(?)の立ちすくみ

Weather: Partly Cloudy; 73°F
Energy Level: 3 out of 10
Mood: Not sure - mostly dizzy!

↑ The back of the great shirt
my lovely sis-in-law
Nire made for me -
shown with our mini-Uglydog
(Scroll down to see the front below!)

(Yes, for those of you who didn't know, I did cut my hair really short - mostly so I don't have to hold up the hair dryer when my body hurts. I figured simplifying my life was in order.)

I've sort of been feeling like a deer in the headlights every time I open my eyes.

There have been lots of things I've wanted to write about, but it's been difficult, mostly because I've been so dizzy and light-sensitive. Facing a computer screen makes me kind of nauseous - it's too bright, even after turning down the brightness. Daniel and I were trying to walk outside yesterday, and I was saying the bright light was making me dizzier. Daniel, who usually is the one who detests a bright sunny weather, was informing me: "Um, it's really not that bright. It's actually pretty cloudy." It felt like the sidewalk was a mirror reflecting the bright sunshine.

I feel a little hopeless if I can't handle Seattle's cloudy skies... :-) Apparently, the hot(-ish - it's really not that hot compared to what it might be in Colorado or Tokyo or Texas) weather and my fibromyalgia/improving celiac disease don't really get along. My body is acting a bit crazy; my feet and hands would be throbbing with stabbing pain, feeling hot and swollen one minute, and another minute my feet would be purple and cold. I'm starting to understand how sick old people sometimes kind of give up and die in a hot weather. It's really exhausting.

Emotionally it's been like a roller coaster ride this past week - I've had lots of self-doubts because of this dizziness. (One day last week I was trying to drive myself to the doctor's office while feeling dizzy/weak, and bumped into a parked car behind me in the parking garage, which made me doubt my ability to get around. The car's owner turned out to be a naturopath who practices in the building and was completely nice about it.) At the end of the week, though, I was thankful of many things, of how lucky I am. So I wanted to write about things like the incredible care package I received from Nire (a.k.a. Erin - my little sis-in-law who is beautiful inside and out), the cooking class I went to with Daniel, the great ensuing meals we've had, our new electricity-assisted bike, etc., but couldn't. This post took me a whole day to write and I'm still dizzy, so those fun posts will have to wait till another time...

↑ The front of the shirt.
The picture is made up of nature photos Nire's taken -
isn't she talented? The middle looks like a tiger to me.


天候: 曇り; 23°C
元気度: 3/10
気分: めまいがしてよく分からない・・・。

髪をワカメちゃんみたく切ってみました。 天パの為、こうでもしないと

よく英語で、like a deer in the headlights、車のヘッドライトに照らされて、

駄目でした。 きのう曇っている中ちょっと歩こうと出かけたのですが、

うーん、シアトルの曇り空で眩しいとなると、心細いですね (^_^)
相性がどうも良くないようです。 体が熱くなったり寒くなったり、
(ちょっと)わかる感じです。 暑いってもともと弱ってると

どうもすみませんでした) 情けなくなって



Friday, July 13, 2007

The skinny on Lyrica - ライリカについての情報

Weather: Cloudy w/ Rain Showers; 65°F
Energy Level: 4 out of 10
Pain Level: 4-5 out of 10 (a HUGE improvement since Wednesday!)
Mood: Pretty darn good

↑ View outside
our balcony.

I love the Seattle sky when it’s cloudy like today, about to rain with moments notice. I find this kind of weather calming and soothing. Maybe it’s all the different shades of green we can see and we do have lots of green around here despite living in a city. (Once I was touring the famed Portland Japanese Garden in rain – I personally believe this one is the best Japanese garden in the U.S., supported by the fierce volunteer corps – and the volunteer tour guide said, “You are lucky! You can see more subtle shades of green on a rainy day than a sunny day; it gives the Garden that much more depth.” It’s very true. Green is often too washed out on a sunny day.)

Well my musings aside, when it was recently approved I'd said I would ask my doctor about Lyrica, and I did, so here's the skinny from Dr. Marti, who is at Seattle Fibromyalgia & Fatigue Center.

Me: "So, have you been getting a lot of questions about Lyrica?"
Dr. Marti: "Oh yes, of course - it's the *first* approved medicine!" (With her hands swinging up in the air.)

So yes, those in-the-know do know. What she said is basically this: it's not a miracle drug, and it doesn't work for everyone. She has used it on some patients in the past (even before approval, that is), and while it does help some patients, it's not typically her first choice. The reason is that one of its primary side effects is edema, or water retention, and a lot of FMS patients have thyroid dysfunction which also causes edema. So it could kind of add to the problem in a lot of cases. Another common side effect is constipation, which can also be a problem with many patients with GI or thyroid issues (like me!).

That said, it does help promote deep sleep, so if the patient is not having the above problems and is having trouble sleeping, it could be a good fit. It does address pain but would not correct any underlying issues, so the treatment plan needs to be comprehensive to address the unique etiology of the patient.

Ooh, now the sun is starting to shine. Maybe I'll see a rainbow today!

天候: はな曇り(ときどき雨); 18°C
元気度: 4/10
痛み度: 4~5/10 (水曜日に比べたらすごい良くなった!)
気分: けっこうご機嫌。


ボランティアのガイドさんは「今日はラッキーですよ! 雨の日は、
ポジでいいなあ。 でもほんとだと思います。 それにこの辺出身の人は


あ: 「ところで、ライリカについて沢山質問が飛び交ってますか?」
マーティ先生: 「もちろん。 だって、一番最初に認可されたんですからね!」


ことだから。 FMS患者の多くは甲状腺機能が異常になっていることが多く、
それに輪をかけるような薬は不向きということです。 (例えば私には不向き。)




Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Progress = washing behind my ears - 耳の後ろを洗うことは嬉しい。

Weather: Super Sunny; 73°F
Energy Level: 4 out of 10
Pain Level: 5-6 out of 10
Mood: OK but worried about a few things...

↑ Ender (left)
sleeping on my pillow
with Momo.

Sorry I haven't posted in a while - Daniel took some time off around July 4th, and I wanted to do things together with him, and in the process I wore myself out a bit. Plus I was a bit preoccupied with cat matters.

Ender is a tiny black cat I'd inherited from a house mate a long time ago. She is 8 years old but remains kitten-sized, and has never been that tough. We had to give away Ender to our dear friend Pete last year, because she kept getting attacked by our other cats that she couldn't get down from the top of the bookshelf or refrigerator all day :-(

Ender came to visit us while Pete was out of town, and I noticed ominous little bumps on her head which she kept scratching - similar to ones she got shortly after coming home from a Denver shelter. At that time it was determined she had ringworm (not worms despite the name; it's a fungal infection, same thing as athlete's foot), and Momo ended up getting it from her.

So I took Ender to the vet, they took some culture from her skin, and we're waiting for results after they'd try harvesting the culture (it apparently takes about two weeks to try to grow the fungal culture). If it's not ringworm, it could be some form of cancer, so we'd need to do a biopsy. So we'd wait for now. We'd isolated Ender promptly afterward, and she's gone home to Pete.

In the meantime, I got nervous about Momo catching it again (only Momo was allowed near Ender since other cats tend to beat up Ender), so I inspected Momo - and it turns out she was losing hair underneath her collar. I guess it could be due to old age (Momo is 13), but for good measure we took her in to the vet, too. They didn't see much wrong with her, but they're running some lab work to see if she has a thyroid issue. So much drama. I can't imagine having human kids!

I myself am going in to my doctor's appointment today at Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Center to see about my progress. I think I am making progress with my thyroid and cortisol medication, because 1) I'm up and typing; and 2) I used to even have a hard time getting over the bath tub ledge to take shower in the morning, and now I don't dread every movement getting to that point, and I even think about washing behind my ears. That may seem like a small thing to normal folks, but it used be that I found it hard to even wash my head and body in the most basic sense because of pain and weakness, so I find joy in that I have energy to think about washing behind my ears!

P.S. My awesome friend from the FMS research group, Gabi, posted another yummy gluten-free (which most are, when you make your own - I've just been lazy) drink recipe on her blog - it's horchata! I've had it in restaurants but was never sure how it was made. Very cool. I'll have to try making one! I feel like we're becoming culturally richer because I found out about my celiac disease, hehehe.

天候: 快晴; 23°C
元気度: 4/10
痛み度: 5~6/10
気分: まあまあだけれど心配事がいくつか。




心配になったのでした。 昔デンバーのシェルターからもらわれてきた

培養してもらうことになりました。 なかなか自分で育てようとしても
はらはら待たなければいけないそう。 白癬菌でなければ癌の可能性も

心配になりました。 (他の猫はエンダーをいじめるので近寄らせなかった。)

ということが判明。 けっこうゆるくしてあったのですが・・・



考えるまでになりましたもん。 それって普通の人からすれば


P.S. FMSちけんグループのギャビーさんが、美味しい南米の飲み物、
ホーチャタレシピを教えてくれました。 今度作ってみようっと。
作れるようになって得してるみたい (^o^)